Advisors: Brian Domitrovic

The Gold Standard Had Nothing To Do With Panics And Busts

One of the main reasons that detractors of the gold standard contend it is a “barbarous relic” (in John Maynard Keynes’s phrase) is that it was implicated in so many financial panics and economic busts back in its heyday in the 19th century. As the New York Times’ pet Internet troll once put it, sarcastically, “under the gold standard, America had no major financial panics other than in 1873, 1884, 1890, 1893, 1907, 1930, 1931, 1932, and 1933. Oh, wait....returning to the gold standard is an almost comically (and cosmically) bad idea.”

Looking at the 19th century, before the gold standard became a ghost, a dead-letter in the early era of the Federal Reserve from 1913-33, there is no evidence that the good old thing was implicated in any panic or bust. Certainly not in 1873, when the United States was still contemplating returning to the gold standard that it had abrogated in the civil war the decade prior.

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Kathleen M. Packard, Publisher
Ralph J. Benko, Editor

In Memoriam
Professor Jacques Rueff

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